Internal and External Healing – Lasers in Surgery

Posted by Jason Wickersham on

Many surgical procedures are difficult to perform using a traditional scalpel because they are located in hard to reach places, often requiring incisions in healthy tissue to access the area requiring surgery. Lasers, however, have made such surgery both easier and safer because a finely focused beam from a carbon dioxide gas laser can cut through human tissue easily and neatly. The surgeon can then direct the laser beam from any angle by using a mirror mounted on a movable metal arm.

Laser Surgery makes it possible to reach internal organs such as veins and arteries without damaging healthy tissue, which aids healing and speeds recovery. Another major advantage is that the laser beam is consistent, emitting the same amount of energy from one second to the next, so as long as the beam is moving at a constant speed, the incision does not vary in depth. When using a scalpel, on the other hand, the surgeon can accidentally make part of the incision too deep.

Cleaning arteries with light

Because of their ability to make access to internal organs easier and safer, lasers beams are increasingly used to clean plaque from people’s arteries. Plaque is a tough fatty substance that can build up on the inside walls of the arteries. Eventually the vessels can get so clogged that blood does not flow normally and the result can be a heart attack or stroke, both of which are serious and sometimes fatal.

Before Laser Surgery, the removal of plaque involved opening the chest and making several incisions, a long and sometimes risky operation requiring weeks for recovery. Today, however, surgeons use a laser beam to burn away the plaque.

The technique involves insertion of an optical fiber connected to a tiny television camera into a blood vessel in an arm or leg. The camera is then moved slowly into the area of the heart and blocked arteries. When the camera is securely in place, a second fiber is inserted to carry the bursts of light that will burn away the plaque. The laser is then fired, the plaque is destroyed, and the exhaust vapors are sucked back through a tiny hollow tube that is inserted along with the optical fibers.

When the artery has been cleaned out, the doctor removes the fibers and tube and the operation is finished. This process, known as laser angioplasty, has several obvious advantages. First, no incision is needed except for the small one needed to insert the fibers. There is also little or no bleeding, and the patient can enjoy total recovery in a day or two.

Cosmetic uses of lasers

Lasers are also useful in cosmetic surgery to remove birthmarks, tattoos and unwanted facial or body hair. A common birthmark encountered in about three out of every thousand children, for example, is known as a port wine stain. Most commonly found on the face and neck, the stain is made up of thousands of tiny malformed blood vessels that have a definite reddish purple color. This color very strongly absorbs a certain shade of green light, which why the stain looks red. It absorbs the green and other colors in white light but reflects the red back to people’s eyes.

To treat the stain, the doctor runs a wide low-power beam of green laser light across the discolored area. The mass of blood vessels in the stain absorbs the laser light and becomes so hot that it is actually burned away. The surrounding skin is a different color than the stain, so it absorbs only small amounts of the Laser Beam Level and remains unburned.

A similar Cosmetic Laser Surgery method is often successful in removing tattoos. The laser beam bleaches the dyes in the tattoo without burning the surrounding skin. The same procedure can be used to remove unwanted hair, such as facial hair on women especially. The laser beam burns and destroys the hair follicle while leaving the skin unharmed.

Whether used internally or externally, the beam of the laser in Laser Surgery must be precisely controlled in order to destroy unwanted tissue without harming the healthy tissue surrounding it. Internal components of the laser such as lenses, optical windows and mirrors supplied by Esco Optics help assure that the desired effect is achieved. Learn more about Esco Products here. Here are some reference that you may like – Cutaneous Laser and Laser Surgery. Feel free to express your opinion on this article.

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